is always skewed, and social media is no exception.
Hebdo attack rightly outraged us. The intensity of shock is still fresh and it
cannot be said when the process of reconciliation would begin as the crime took
three days to wind up, with reports saying the suspects were killed just now
(10 PM India Time). And to add to the intimidating chaos, Paris has seen two
more shootouts, one yesterday, killing a policewoman, and one today, where gunmen
took hostages in a Paris suburb grocery store. Now, three gunmen are dead, and
going by the reports, a woman, suspected to be with the grocery store gunman,
has been able to escape. Reports also say that she is ‘heavily armed’.
events unfolding in Paris, still not clear, have the global media and audiences
a crime of a much bigger scale was being perpetrated in Nigeria, Africa’s
biggest economy, crying for our attention.
countless incidents of crimes against humanity in so-called uncivilized or
third-world countries where dictators prowling or where sectarian warlords
decide which way the wind would blow are not given even the passing mentions.
Wednesday, when Charlie Hebdo attack happened, yet another Boko Haram massacre
was in making in Nigerian town Baga.
official reports said of 100 dead initially but the town was completely torched
and even if most of the residents had fled before the Boko Haram’s assault, the
unofficial consensus, that is more accurate than the official sources, was of
thousands of dead.
apart from routine news reports, coverage and hence the audience engagement
didn’t go further. As expected, there were no consolidated, campaigned
expressions of outage and no runs of solidarity to mobilize the opinion on
social media platforms.
the obvious differentiators were obviously there.
Charlie Hebdo attack took place in Paris, one of the global cities, world’s
fashion capital and the capital city of France, one of the major global powers,
an advanced economy and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. And the
reason, as shouted by the terrorists, was to avenge the ‘blasphemous’ acts, the
Prophet cartoons by the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, all of them killed in the
it was about a controversial issue, terrorism in the name of Islam, being
debated the world over with its increasing spread and brutality, and it was
logistically within reach of media outfits. And in a globally connected world,
soon it was the world over, in real time.
were elements to keep the audiences hooked to the TV sets and Internet
platforms – armed terrorists killing 10 journalists and two policemen in Paris
– they flee then and disappear with tens of thousands of security personnel mapping
roads and leads – they reappear and disappear and reappear –meanwhile more
shootouts happen – and then hostages are taken – all being covered and watched
in real time – the world over.
Boko Haram massacre targeted a Nigerian town that most would not have heard of.
Historically, Nigeria’s ethnic clashes have killed thousands and have displaced
millions. And Boko Haram is latest in the series.
cannot be media outfits there to report in areas of Boko Haram control and
reach and that is logical. When bodies are lying there rotting and no one is
able to go there to dispose them, it is difficult for reporters to reach there
and carry out a detailed assessment to let the world see and realize the scale
of horror. And there was no one in pursuit of Boko Haram, unlike in France
where the whole state machinery was involved.
had live, moving images with incidents in France while we had none in case of
Nigerian massacre. But didn’t we have the numbers?
the two cannot be compared and we should not. A tragedy taking away human lives
cannot have a degree, irrespective of the numbers.
what when we have astronomically high numbers – as has been reported about Boko
Haram massacre in Baga?
it make us numb to react on first mention so as to react more expressively –
thousands shot dead and their bodies rotting?
it agitate us to discuss it and make more and more of the world aware of it?
world leader tweeted on it. We didn’t hear the United Nations making a formal statement
on it. We didn’t know if the White House released statement condemning it.
1998, some 30,000 Nigerians, human beings like you and me, have been killed in
the social violence, a report by The Nigeria Social Violence Project says. The
report puts the toll over 11000 since July 2009 when Boko Haram started its
military offensive. This excludes the Baga massacre and many others not covered
in the report.
Graphic courtesy: The Nigeria Social Violence Project (African Studies Program at
Johns Hopkins SAIS)
#JeSuisCharlie and #ParisShooting are trending but #BokoHaram and #BokoHaramKilled2000People
must also trend.
am in full solidarity with #JeSuisCharlie and #CharlieHebdo but #BokoHaram just
killed thousands. Cry people, cry.
tribute dimmed Eiffel Tower for #CharlieHebdo. I did not sleep the night
sleeping in my tribute to the thousands of nameless victims of Boko Haram
massacre who had a name and address till this Wednesday.